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Understanding the Psychology of Change: The Six Stages of Change

Updated: Jan 30

another word for change

Section 1: The Six Stages of Change

1.1 Precontemplation

In this stage, individuals may not recognize the need for change. They may be unaware of the impact of their behaviors on their well-being.

1.2 Contemplation

During contemplation, individuals become aware of the need for change but may still feel ambivalent. They weigh the pros and cons of change.

1.3 Preparation

Preparation involves taking concrete steps toward change. Individuals may set goals, gather information, and begin planning for the changes they wish to make.

1.4 Action

The action stage is characterized by implementing specific strategies and making visible changes. This is an active phase where individuals commit to behavioral modifications.

1.5 Maintenance

Maintenance involves sustaining the changes made during the action stage. Individuals work to prevent relapse and integrate new behaviors into their daily lives.

1.6 Termination

Termination is the final stage, where the individual has successfully integrated the changes, and the new behaviors have become the norm. The process is now self-sustaining.

Section 2: The Significance of the Six Stages in Therapy

2.1 A Framework for Progress

Understanding the stages of change provides a framework for individuals and therapists to assess progress and tailor interventions accordingly.

2.2 Addressing Resistance and Ambivalence

Identifying the stage of change helps therapists address resistance and ambivalence, fostering a more collaborative and effective therapeutic relationship.

Section 3: Introducing the Therapy Journal App

3.1 What is Therapy Journal?

The Therapy Journal app is a digital platform designed to support mental well-being through the practice of journaling.

3.2 Features for Navigating the Stages of Change

  • Goal Setting: Use the app to set and track goals specific to each stage of change.

  • Reflections on Progress: Journal about your experiences and progress in each stage, gaining insights into challenges and successes.

  • Reminder Notifications: Schedule reminders for consistent journaling sessions to maintain focus on your evolving journey.

3.3 How the App Enhances Progress

  • Timeline View: Observe your journey through the stages of change, celebrating achievements and identifying areas for continued growth.

  • Private Journaling: Enjoy the security of a private space for your reflections, fostering honesty and vulnerability.

Section 4: Tips for Utilizing the App in Each Stage

4.1 Precontemplation and Contemplation

Explore your thoughts and feelings about change. Journal about the pros and cons, and use guided prompts in the app to delve into your awareness.

4.2 Preparation and Action

Set specific goals in the app, and regularly journal about the steps you are taking. Reflect on challenges and strategies for overcoming obstacles.

4.3 Maintenance and Termination

Document your successes and challenges in maintaining changes. Celebrate milestones and use the app to set new goals for ongoing personal growth.


The six stages of change provide a roadmap for the therapeutic journey, offering insights into an individual's readiness for transformation. The Therapy Journal app acts as a versatile tool, supporting individuals in each stage through goal-setting, reflections, and progress tracking. Download the Therapy Journal app here and embark on a transformative journey through the stages of change in therapy.

Helpful Tips for Insight:

The Stages of Change: Understanding How People Change

Have you ever tried to make a change in your life, but found it difficult to stick to? Maybe you've tried to quit smoking, eat healthier, or exercise more, but something always seems to get in the way. Understanding the stages of change can help you overcome these obstacles and make lasting changes in your life.

According to psychologist James Prochaska, there are six stages of change:

  1. Precontemplation: In this stage, you may not even realize that a change is needed. You may be in denial or unaware of the consequences of your behavior.

  2. Contemplation: In this stage, you start to consider making a change, but you're not yet ready to take action. You may be weighing the pros and cons, or trying to gather more information about the change you want to make.

  3. Preparation: In this stage, you start to take small steps towards making the change. You may make a plan, gather resources, or seek support from friends and family.

  4. Action: This is the stage where you actually start to make the change. You may start exercising more, eating healthier, or quitting a habit like smoking.

  5. Maintenance: In this stage, you work to maintain the change you've made. This may involve finding ways to cope with triggers or temptations that could lead you back to your old behavior.

  6. Termination: This is the final stage of change, where the change has become a permanent part of your life and you no longer struggle with the old behavior.

Understanding these stages of change can help you identify where you are in the process and give you strategies to move forward. For example, if you're in the contemplation stage, you might seek out more information about the change you want to make. If you're in the action stage, you might seek support from friends and family to help you stick to your new behavior.

It's important to remember that everyone is different and will move through these stages at their own pace. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to make a change, and it's okay to take breaks or backslide to an earlier stage if needed. The key is to be patient and persistent, and to remember that making lasting changes takes time and effort.

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